The NBA's and WNBA's visit to Tanzania represents the spirit and generosity of the American people. These Sports Envoys have traveled far from home to bring a message of hope and inspiration to Tanzanian youth.
The trip was initially about much more than basketball — the exhibition games were merely a formality as the Hoya contingent toured the country, met with Vice President Joe Biden and sought to promote sports diplomacy between the world's superpower and its ascending counterpart.
‘Sports diplomacy lives!” raved a former national security official traveling with the Georgetown University basketball team on a visit to China timed to coincide with Vice President Biden’s trip this week. That was before a brawl ended the Hoyas’ game against a professional Chinese team tied to the Chinese military.
Sports diplomacy, they might say, makes for a great story, but seldom has a genuine geopolitical impact. The legendary Christmas ceasefire and football match between German and British troops in 1914 was followed by the most vicious carnage the world had ever seen.
When an encounter planned to generate good will disintegrates into violence, the important thing is to keep it in perspective and distill the right lessons from the event—not to limit further matches.
The Chinese team that got into a nasty brawl with Georgetown University players in an exhibition game went to the Beijing airport Friday to reconcile with them. A brief statement from Georgetown said coach John Thompson III...
The Hoyas will spend five days in the capital of the world’s most populous nation and another five days in Shanghai on a trip intended to advance Georgetown’s profile internationally with athletic, educational and cultural exchange.
Yao Ming is one of the few Chinese faces recognized by American audiences," said Brook Larmer, author of "Operation Yao Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar." "As much as we scoff at sports as just a game, for China it's a crucial part of its soft power diplomacy.